Inside Issue #21: A Conversation with Astrologer / Healer Naimonu James

 all photos by  Naima Noguera

all photos by Naima Noguera


Hi Naimonu! Thank you for taking the time to share with us today. Could you start by sharing a little bit about yourself and your background?

My name is Naimonu—I use they/them pronouns, I am a gender nonconforming black femme. My mother’s name is Angelique, my mother’s mother’s name is Ruth.

Did you have any kind of religious or spiritual background in your upbringing throughout your life?

No, not at all actually. I think we were more of an Easter & Christmas Christians. We were a Black American family, descended from slaves, so Christianity was still a part of our household, it’s just that we were very removed from it. I would say that if there was any religion in our household, it was very much — at least for my mother— related to education. That became a really big focus, and there was a lot of devotion to education. If there was a spiritual tradition or religion in our household, it was really wrapped up in education and the idea of success — or, illusion of success, I should say.

That definitely resonates with me, too. Did that motivation to have a strong focus on education align with your life-path, or did you ever feel yourself wanting to go a different way?

It definitely aligned in the sense that I love learning. I definitely recognize that for a different household or a different kid, my upbringing could have been seen as really strict, you know? Growing up, my mom had posters of Einstein’s theory of relativity on the wall, we had to read poems in French, every summer we would have these huge packets of stuff to do. But my mind was always so hungry, and it is still so hungry. Having to keep my mind active has been really supportive of my work because my work is so cerebral. What I’ve been doing is beginning to try to integrate the other parts of my body that also want knowledge, so I think that it aligns perfectly to have had this intense focus on the intellect and the mind, and now I get to create balance with myself.

What would you say the primary focus of your work is currently?

My work right now, that I’m really called to be doing during this mercury retrograde, is to truly and honestly hold space for it all. If I’m writing a horoscope where I feel like I can’t hold space for it all, then I have to start over because I’ve missed something. So, that really feels like the big focus of my work right now: To remind people that they are okay. I don’t mean okay in like, don’t listen to your feelings, forget that racist fucked up comment. I mean that there’s this inherent worth that we all have, this inherent divinity, this sacredness, that no matter what happens to us, no matter what we do, it cannot be taken away.

I believe that on a metaphysical level because we’re made of the universe. That’s what I love about astrology, because once you begin to really comprehend the enormity of taking form, maybe in a body, maybe not, just how big that is in the context of the universe, it becomes a little bit easier to realize that every single one of us is divine.

It has nothing to do with what we do in the world, it has nothing to do with what we do in our day to day lives. We’re all divine, we’re all grieving, and we’re all dealing with different stages of heartbreak.

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When did you first develop an interest in astrology, and how did it guide, affirm, or impact your personal healing journey?

I feel like I was always interested in astrology. I don’t know if there was a beginning point, I was just always into it. I was always really curious about it. This process has almost been like sinking into honey. You don’t realize how deep in you are, but it feels good anyway. Or, maybe you do realize how deep in you are, and you realize, it’s fucking honey, so I’m good. That’s how this whole process has been feeling, whether it’s realizing how much time I spend doing this, or that I think about this all the time, and I realize I’m okay with that.

In terms of my own healing process, and how it intertwines with astrology — astrology has really helped me have something to cling to. Sometimes, we can get so focused on non-attachment, you know, don’t get attached to this, don’t get attached to that, don’t have expectations, all of these things. Sometimes, I forget that this timeline we’re in is very, very long, and it moves through multiple lifetimes. So, the comfort that I get from being able to cling to something, to rely on something to give me comfort, is truly divine.

It’s really helpful to not only know intellectually, but to have the feeling experientially, that throughout this path, there is some kind of map guiding that.

Right — this idea that the natal chart, or astrology, or reading your horoscopes, as just these moments where you can check in and remember that there is a map. It reminds you that you’re not alone. When you read your horoscope, and it resonates with you, you realize that, for example, every other Taurus may be like, wow, this resonates, I’m not alone on this journey, there are so many other people that are thinking about the things I’m thinking about, or struggling with what I’m struggling with. I think that is really powerful, and has also really helped me build my sense of empathy and compassion. Writing horoscopes for twelve different signs, I definitely realize that everyone has their unique thing that they’re working through and learning, and we’re all in different places in our journey, and in different places on the collective map together. So, there’s this individual map, and this collective map, and we’re all in different places trying to navigate towards whatever liberation may look like or feel like.

It feels like with astrology work, and especially by sharing that as a writer, there’s this responsibility there, because whichever path that you’re laying, and wisdom that you’re sharing, people may follow that. So, it definitely seems like it requires some element of clearing ourselves to be able to channel our highest wisdom. Are there any ways that you recommend clearing any energetic blocks so that you can do the work that is truest for yourself and for others?

I don’t know, I have my own ways, and I’ve worked to figure out those ways. For me, right now, a lot of that ability to clear is in taking time every day for meditation. I was recently called back to this practice, and for me, my meditations need to be very long. The need of them being very long is really quite joyful. It’s really pleasurable to be in meditation for 45 minutes or an hour. That is a huge part of my ability to just tap into the flow. I’ve recently returned to one of my truths, which is that I have a lot of anxiety, and I think it is something that I maybe will always have, and I think I’m just kind of coming to terms with that. So, it’s very important for me to take a lot of time to soothe all of my selves, and to really make sure that I’m doing that work, and really be able to check in with myself, and to check in with the state of my mind. That’s a huge part of the work, for me that is a part of the clearing, in actually getting into and reading into what is live and active in me—what’s subtle, what’s spacious, what’s tense, what’s agitated—and I need to check in every day, and that check in takes a lot of time. So that’s my way of clearing—your way of clearing might be completely different, and I don’t know what the best way is, and I don’t think that there is a best way.

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It’s so important what you touched on—just in checking in with ourselves every day, however that looks like to you.

This whole process, for me, is really remembering to be kind to myself. Some days I just want to lay on my couch and drink wine and watch Netflix — which sounds really good right now actually — those days are going to happen, and I might not make it to my altar. My altar will hold. The magic will hold. The universe will hold. The universe is in no rush. I think that sometimes I forget that.

Definitely. Something I’m only recently realizing is that no matter how far off we might feel from our own path, there’s always that space to return to—whether it’s an altar space, or that center in ourselves.

Absolutely, and I think that it takes a lot of work to even realize that you want to access that space within you to amend your journey. I think it’s a journey, and I always try to dance around questions that deal with routine or ritual like, What do you do? What should we do? Your journey is going to be completely different than mine. I think it’s important to have a sense of a trial and error and adventure when it comes to finding how you are able to dance with the divine, and dance with your divine self.

As a healer, and with any kind of work in channeling, I find that a lot of people that are drawn to that kind of work, it’s common to have a high sensitivity to the energies of other people, and to take on the energies of other people. Are there any important ways that you protect your energy and set boundaries for yourself around others?

I definitely have a lot of times where I take on a lot of energy, but I think that I’m coming to it in a different way where my work is to constantly open up, open up, open up, be present, absorb. That’s what my work is right now. I think that coming to healership can look a lot of different ways. You don’t necessarily have to be a sensitive person that is constantly absorbing energy. That is definitely a cue that you are probably able to gather information that is kind of divine or magical, but I felt that growing up, and surviving in my body, I couldn’t access that sensitivity. I couldn’t survive and also be as sensitive as I’m actually now allowed to be. My work is in returning to that. Right now, I’m more like, feel it! Feel it all! And when that becomes too much, or that becomes a problem, I will balance it out. For right now, I’m just trying to be present.

It definitely seems like through survivorship, there’s a way that people do have to turn off certain sensitivities, and there’s so much important work in asking ourselves how we can shed a lot of these layers and see what’s there. Then, we become a better healer for ourselves, and more attuned to what’s going on around us. It’s really great that you’re doing that.

You also learn the parts of you that need protection, because there are parts of us that need protection around certain environments and around certain people. I started to learn what parts of me can release, and I’m always learning that I get so conditioned to a certain kind of self-protection. Then, I realize that: Oh, actually, I don’t really need to have that boundary quite so tight there. But then, there may be another place, where I do actually need boundaries in this part of my life. I think it’s this constant dance, where we’re constantly moving through these different states of asking ourselves: Where am I sensitive? Where am I protected naturally? I think that changes over time.

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It sounds like you’re maintaining this level of flexibility through that level of awareness of the present by seeing in this situation, if I have to reel myself in more, in that situation, I can open myself up more. That’s really powerful that you’re cultivating that! How do you envision your practice evolving over the next year or so, are there any major projects that you’re working on?

For right now, my site and this work that I’ve been doing is young — it’s not even a year old. I’m just trying to build capacity, and to take responsibility for what I’m putting into the world with what I’m writing and what I’m trying to do. That responsibility is really calling me to routine and schedule. This is also the first year of my life where I’m coming into working for myself, so it’s a whole other learning curve. That is really what I’m cultivating. I’m the kind of person that wants to do ten things at once, you know, and how many things I can do in one period of time. I’m actually trying to stay pretty still, and just root, and root, and root myself in my site. [I want to] build capacity, streamline, see what’s working, see what we can keep putting energy towards, and what needs to go.

I’m also going to launch a couple products. I got to work with a local letterpress to make some goddess cards that really honor the goddesses. I think they turned out so beautifully, and it was really awesome to work with someone that was right down the street. So, I’ll be releasing those, and then I’m also going to start selling the collages as fine art prints, because people are into them, which is really something I didn’t expect — they have kind of grown into their own thing. I’m also going to be having those available for folks who want to cherish them.

Amazing to hear that you’re going through this foundation setting, but also slow expansion phase with your work!

Yeah! Send me good vibes because sometimes I get really rattled up and think, Oh my god! I need to do like 15 more things! I’m just really trying to find some peace with where I’m at.

It can often feel like once we finish one thing, we’re like, Oh, what can we do more? What’s next! what’s next! Rather than asking ourselves how we can work the best with what’s here.

It’s so gross because when you think about it, we’re surrounded by these corporations where that’s literally exactly what they’re thinking, all the time—How do we expand? What do we need to do? I really feel like there’s something important to being like, I’m not trying to do much at all.

Definitely! I’m just learning to acknowledge that whatever is happening now, that’s what I have to work with, and it’s good.

Yeah! I’m not going to sit there and pull my hair out over asking myself, How can I produce more? How can I work more? My ass is like, How can we work less? How can I work less? That’s also a big part of the horoscopes — a lot of it is that we have been told that our worth and our value is wrapped up in the number of hours that we work every day.

We have been, for a million different reasons, some of which are completely out of our control, trapped in these cycles of work that do not nourish us, do not nurture us, do not provide for us, do not allow us to set a life that is full of thriving and abundance. I’m fucking over it. There’s so many subtexts of my work. There’s rage in my work. It’s a rage that I’ve really learned to not put out so blatantly. But there are certain weeks or certain times where I’m just fucking tired of this presumption that someone is entitled to my labor, my brilliance. I decline. A lot of the work that I’m doing is a very gentle and subtle ask for more and more people to join me in declining. Like, No, you don’t get to have the best of me. You don’t get to have all of my hours. You don’t get to have all of my emotional labor. No.

There are so many ways that our energy can either be honored or exploited in serving someone else’s vision. It’s important to take all of that huge potential that you have and focus that into your own work if there is the room for it.

When Uranus enters Taurus, I think we’re going to really be called to be thinking about the fact that at the end of the day, because we are all sacred and divine, there are certain things that we need provided for us. Because of the abundance that exists in the world, and in the universe, we should not have to struggle for those things. I really think that that will be an important thing over the next couple of years because a lot of people are really tired. In terms of my work, there’s a part of me that’s just like, fuck this noise. Let’s restructure our lives so that we can figure out new ways of existing and doing this work. Do I have answers? No, but I want to be in conversation with people that are wondering and that are thinking about the same things I am. Maybe they’re also really tired, and they also decline. I think we’re going to really need to collaborate with each other, while also doing our own work.

In what ways do you think that community can come together more?

I think that the most important thing is for each of us to do our own work. That’s the first step. Before the moment where you realize that you don’t consent to the way the world is, I would hope— and I also really want to cultivate this into the work I do — that may you have the wisdom to immediately begin doing your own work. To realize that the stuff that you need to do, the stuff that you need to unlearn, is a mirror for the liberation work that you envision on a grand scale. So to me, the first step of building community is sitting down and figuring out what your shit is, and committing to the work. That is also coming from a hermit, so take that with a grain of salt.

But to me, I’ve been having all of these really luscious conversations around folks gathering around land, and returning to the Earth. This is another big thing with my work, to imagine life—what would a healthy, reciprocal, pleasurable, joyful relationship with our planet, our divine Earth Mother — what would that look like? I think that if we were to take that seriously, if we were to really ask ourselves that question, we would have to restructure our entire lives.

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With astrology, it’s a big way to tap into the ethereal nature of things, and in talking about reconnecting to land and Earth, what are some practices and ways that you develop that relationship to the physical realm through the Earth?

Astrology is integration, so it’s not just ethereal or ephemeral. When we think about Saturn —what is its structure that will last lifetimes? It’s about the integration and the balance of, Can we find a way to be in this ethereal realm, and do you know how to root? I think that’s the major work of astrology. It’s not reading your horoscopes every day, which is a great practice —I think the real work with astrology is inviting you to know yourself at such a deep level that you choose how to act at any given moment. It’s this deep presence and awareness because you have in some ways just studied yourself, and learned yourself. At some point, this idea of what the planets are doing no longer has an impact on you, because you get to choose.

As far as practices, nature, for me, is helpful. To be outside. My best healing happens when I am camping, and away from everything basically. A part of some of those check ins that I’m doing every day, is that I invite the Earth Mother — I sing to her, and give thanks to her, so that Earth Mother is definitely a part of my flow, and my ability to feel safe in moving through my day.

That’s so important to tap into that idea that even if the ground beneath our feet in our personal lives can get shaken up, to feel protected by the Earth is such a great feeling. Do you have any final thoughts that you want to share or hopes for the future?

I hope that we can be nice to ourselves, and nice to each other. I hope that we continue working towards deep tenderness, and radical care for ourselves and others. I hope that we allow our hearts to be attuned as they are, and to keep finding ways to find safety in that. I don’t know, I hope that we can be friends. Not to be that bitch but yeah, I’m so here for heart connection with other folks right now. It’s so healing for me.

It seems like all of that work you’re doing is contributing to that heart connection, and opening up the space for others to tap into that in themselves, too.

I hope so. I can’t ask for much more. That right there is a blessing.

to read all of issue #21 click here